Ophthalmic education, Orthoptics Australia

My Eyes program to help eyecare professionals support patients with macular disease


Orthoptists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists will have a leading role to play in the success of the My Eyes program the MDFA is launching in the latter half of 2023, CEO Dr Kathy Chapman explains.

Dr Kathy Chapman, MDFA.

Supporting people living with macular disease is integral to the work of Macular Disease Foundation Australia (MDFA). This support extends to the eye healthcare professionals, particularly orthoptists and optometrists, who work at the frontline to deliver patients with primary eyecare.

To assist, MDFA has new online education courses to help orthoptists and optometrists better detect and manage inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) – Australia’s leading cause of irreversible legal blindness in working-age adults.

In Australia, one in every 1,500 children is born with an IRD.

MDFA’s courses for health professionals are funded by the Commonwealth Government under the National Strategic Action Plan for Macular Disease – a coordinated national response to macular disease in Australia.

One of the action plan’s key recommendations was improving health professionals’ knowledge of macular disease through education.

Healthcare professionals, particularly orthoptists and optometrists, play a valuable role in detecting and managing vision loss and blindness. The better equipped a healthcare professional is, the better the outcome for patients.

Working with some of Australia’s leading retinal specialists, MDFA has developed a self-paced course which includes education on how to best detect and image IRDs, key signs and symptoms, managing and reducing modifiable risk, and ensuring high-risk individuals are having regular eye examinations. The course also gives health professionals the necessary information to link patients diagnosed with inherited retinal diseases with appropriate supports and services.

This free, accredited course on IRDs will be launching soon and will be available to access via the MDFA website at www.mdfoundation.com.au or by using the QR code below. 

A new way to support people with macular disease

Orthoptists are a critical part of the healthcare team for people with macular disease. Over the coming year, MDFA sees orthoptists playing an even greater role for their patients by connecting them to the upcoming My Eyes program.

Over the past two years, MDFA has invested in research to hear directly from people with macular disease, the people who care for them, and the people who treat them.

We are using this information to develop the very first patient support program for all people living with macular disease – based on their own needs and experiences. This new program is called My Eyes.

My Eyes focuses on three pillars of support – health information, emotional and practical – tailored to a patient’s own situation. Participants receive resources to live well with their macular disease and improve their health literacy. Connecting your patients to the program will ensure they get the very best of care in between their visits to their eye health professional.

MDFA will launch the My Eyes program in the latter half of 2023. Orthoptists, optometrists, and ophthalmologists – the triad of optimum eyecare – will have a leading role to play in the success of the My Eyes program.

If your clinic is interested in connecting your patients into the My Eyes program when it becomes available, please contact the support team at myeyes@mdfoundation.com.au




About the Author: Kathy Chapman is the CEO of the Macular Disease Foundation Australia, the national peak body representing the 1.8 million Australians living with macular disease.

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